§ Ms. Short
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) in what circumstances an unemployed person in receipt of income support who has their benefit suspended for two weeks for not actually seeking work will(a) continue to receive uninterrupted income support and eligibility for passported benefits such as housing benefit, less the 40 per cent. deduction to their personal allowance and (b) have to claim individually for a hardship payment; and if he will make a statement;
(2) under what circumstances an unemployed person in receipt only of unemployment benefit who has that benefit suspended for two weeks for not actively seeking work would (a) automatically be paid income support, less the 40 per cent. personal allowance deduction and (b) have to make a separate hardship claim for income support; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
Normally payment of benefit will be suspended when a question arises about whether an unemployed claimant has been actively seeking employment. However, there can still be entitlement to income support at a reduced rate (and eligibility for passported benefits including housing benefit) if the adjudication officer decides that the claimant (or member of his/her family) would suffer hardship if benefit was not paid.
The adjudication officer should consider the question of hardship automatically for those already in receipt of income support. Where it is decided that benefit should continue the local office will do its best to ensure payments remain uninterrupted.
Those in receipt only of unemployment benefit when the actively seeking employment question arises need to make a separate claim before the adjudication officer can consider whether a payment of income support can be made.